Metacarpophalangeal Joint Dislocation Follow-up

Updated: May 24, 2017
  • Author: Matthew Gammons, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Return to Play

As with most injuries return to play in patients with metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint dislocation will vary somewhat by the injury and desired activity. Some athletes will be able to return immediately as long as the injury can be adequately protected in a splint or cast. After the acute MCP joint injury has healed (usually 3-6 wks), the injured finger can be buddy taped for 1-3 weeks for additional protection and comfort. Some MCP joint injuries may require up to 3 months for full return to sporting activity if they cannot be protected or if the desired sport requires full use of the injured finger.

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Complications

Soreness and swelling may persist for many months after the capsule and ligaments have healed. Inadequate immobilization or early return to high-stress activities may result in ligamentous laxity or recurrent instability. Excessive immobilization or severe soft-tissue damage may lead to some joint stiffness, which is common after many of these injuries. Posttraumatic arthritis may occur after multiple closed reductions or unrecognized (chronic) dislocations. Digital nerve injury may occur during the volar surgical approach to the MCP joint.

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Prevention

Although no studies exist with regard to efficacy, most practitioners recommend appropriate buddy taping of the injured finger to an uninjured digit during forceful activities, especially contact sports to help prevent reinjury.

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Prognosis

The prognosis is good for MCP joint injuries that are recognized early and treated appropriately.

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Patient Education

The patient needs to be educated regarding his or her particular injury and the methods of proper treatment to ensure adequate healing. Joint protection is a key concept for the patient to understand. Once healing has taken place through immobilization, the patient should be instructed in a progressive range-of-motion program to regain mobility of the injured joint(s).

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